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Montevideo, April 22nd 2019 - 09:00 UTC

Argentina announces identification of the 107 unknown combatant, buried in the Falklands

Friday, January 25th 2019 - 09:00 UTC
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Ruben Gomez brother and family with Secretary Claudio Avruj Ruben Gomez brother and family with Secretary Claudio Avruj
The Argentine military cemetery at Darwin The Argentine military cemetery at Darwin

An Argentine 18 year old conscript from the northern province of Chaco has become the 107 combatant, with remains resting at the Argentine military cemetery at Darwin, in the Falklands, to be fully identified. The announcement was made by Argentina's Human Rights Secretary, Claudio Avruj who visited the family of Ruben Horacio Gomez, in the city of Ressistencia.

A team of forensic experts, under the International Committee of the Red Cross, has been working in the identification process of unknown Argentine soldiers' remains in the Falklands, a legacy of the 1982 South Atlantic conflict.

The humanitarian project agreed by UK and Argentina, with the consent of the Falklands government has been praised as a success story to be imitated in other conflict scenarios.

Post mortem Corporal Gomez remains were identified crossing DNA samples with those of his brother Jose Alberto Gomez, who received the visit of Secretary Avruj in Chaco.

“For 36 years there was no reply to Ruben Gomez family requests. With the humanitarian project in process we have been able to collaborate with the family after so many years of obscurity”, Avruj said.

The Secretary added that the task addressed in “the framework of Humanitarian Law fills politics of life and sensitivity, has enabled dialogue, to get close to the families and help them close wounds”.

Ruben Gómez belonged to the 1963 Class and with 18 years was sent to the Falklands as a member of the 12th Infantry Regiment. He was stationed at Goose Green, where Argentine forces attempted to stop the advance of the UK Task Force.

Military reports indicate Ruben was killed on 23 May 1982, and the letters his parents, Juan Gomez and Elvira Amarilla, sent him were returned since he never received them.

A school in the rural area of central Chaco has been named “Private Ruben H. Gomez”, in honor of his memory.

This brings the total of identified remains at the Argentine military cemetery to 107, out of 121/22 unmarked graves. Each of the 107 now have a gravestone with the full name of the fallen combatant, instead of the black marble reading “Argentine soldier, only known to God”.

The Falklands government last week stated that, in the framework of the humanitarian project, it supports the trip to the Islands of relatives from the latest identified soldiers, preferably in early March, as it did last year when the visit of the next of kin from the first 88 identified fallen combatants, together with a delegation of Argentine authorities, headed by businessman and philanthropist Eduardo Eurnekian, who financed the cemetery and the flight.

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